It was a chilled November morning, as farmer Ubaidullah Solangi was guiding labourers at his farmhouse in suburban Hyderabad to sort out bitter gourd, ridge gourd, and cucumber for packing and loading to send to the market.
To pick the produce, he mostly hires women, who work in tunnel farms. Tunnel farms are covered with large plastic sheets supported by wooden posts and iron pipes. Ubaidullah Solangi has introduced this method of farming on three separate farms of one acre each.
Every day, women come early in the morning for picking at the tunnel farms, while men do the grading and packing, before loading the vehicles bound for the city markets. They were packing nine kilograms bitter gourds and 10 kilograms cucumber in plastic bags from heaps. Once done, the produce is transported to the market.
Solangi said they have cultivated off-season varieties of bitter gourd on an area covered by 5,000 feet of plastic sheets. “We have installed drip irrigation system to water each plant drip by drip.”